Bergamo {Favorite Day Trips from Milan}

Bergamo Day Trip | cafecarlson.com

 

Bergamo Day Trip | cafecarlson.com

 

Bergamo is a bit addictive. Once you visit, you’ll want to go again and again. Luckily for us, it is a short drive or train ride from Milan. I love taking our visiting friends and family there, and never get tired learning more about Bergamo and its history.

There are 2 parts of Bergamo. Città Bassa (lower town), the new more modern city and Città Alta (upper town), the beautiful medieval walled city sitting on the hilltop. When you step off the funicular at the top into Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe  (the old shoe market) you can feel how special this place is. It’s almost like you have been transported to a different world. Bergamo Alta feels like a small cozy village and has the perfect combination of narrow ancient cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and gorgeous food shops and restaurants.

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weekend wanderlust | six. {Milano Expo edition}

weekend wanderlust | six. {Milano Expo edition}

Happy weekend friends! How are you this week? For us it was a blur of homework, fun events, too many late nights and much laundry and packing again as we head out of town for a long weekend in Austria + Slovenia. We are going on a family road trip, doing a loop from Milan to Salzburg to Ljubljana, Slovenia and back to Milan. How spoiled are we? Crazy spoiled, and loving how close everything is in Europe! Feel free to follow along on Instagram!

weekend wanderlust | six. {Milano Expo edition}

While we are gone, the Milano Expo 2015 begins. Exciting times! This city has been a buzz of activity for as long as I have been living here, preparing for the estimated 20 million visitors that will come over the 6 month period (May-October 2015)

weekend wanderlust | six. {Milano Expo edition}

The past month however, the activity has ramped up and even this week when I was in the city, there was still so much work being done. It’s looking so gorgeous! Even though I’m anticipating it being crowded and crazy, I am very much looking forward to experiencing the Expo and all that it is bringing to Milan.


Now for this weeks favorite links + reads…

 

What the heck is the EXPO 2015? >>>

The online hub of all Expo Milano 2015 info >>>

A fantastic survival guide to all things EXPO by Swide >>>

27 things to do in Milan during the Expo (-via Huffington Post) >>>

Find out about the James Beard American Restaurant which will be located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for the duration of the Expo. >>>

See the list of guest chefs and make reservations >>>

9 recipes from some of the Guest Chefs who will be visiting Milan >>>

How to reach the Exposition Site >>>

I attended my first Expo event this week and saw a screening of the movie Spinning Plates. What a beautiful movie! I absolutely loved it, am still thinking about it and highly recommend seeing it. >>> 

Hungry in Milan? Check out some of my favorite Places to Eat in Milan  >>>

Side note: Remember when I wrote about the #nofilter Milan contest? Here are the results! >>>

 

I know many of you are no where near Milan, but I hope you enjoy learning about the EXPO and follow along a bit. I’ll be checking it out soon for the first time, and will let you know what I see + hear + taste.  Is there anything you would like me to scope out for you or find out about? Can’t promise what I can do but so happy to try!

Ciao a tutti!

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{weekend wanderlust catch-up one. twothreefour. five.}

 

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Primavera. {Springtime in Italy}

Yippee! Spring is definitely here. It’s been showing off in Northern Italy for several weeks now and we are soaking in the sunshine, loving the mild temperatures and all the produce popping into the markets and grocery stores.

Often the first signs of “Primavera” are at the market.  The sight of tiny green piselli (peas), fave, wild asparagus, and strawberries are a welcome sight after a cold wet winter.

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And so I have been buying these spring beauties a lot lately. They get eaten immediately, often before I can even get to the recipe that they were headed for.

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Thoughts on Guimares,Portugal

Guimarães, Portugal {the loveliest surprise}

I had no preconceived expectations about our trip to Portugal. Honestly, I was so glad we had survived January, (post holiday blahs anyone?) and was thrilled to get away for a little bit. I hoped we would enjoy some exploring + family time, eat some good food and soak up the local culture.

We decided to start our trip by flying into Porto and rent a car- staying somewhere in Northern Portugal, then end the trip in Lisbon and fly home from there. (this worked brilliantly btw.)

Thoughts on Guimares,Portugal

I knew where I wanted to stay in Lisbon, but wasn’t sure about the first few days of the trip. As usual, there are far more places to see than we had time for! I booked a place near the beach north of Porto and then at the last minute changed my mind.

Finally, I decided on Guimarães as our base to explore some of Northern Portugal. I had never heard of it, but found it when doing the infamous google search for “beautiful small towns in…..”

The day of the trip I started to get a bit nervous, with my lack of research and last minute changes, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Once we landed, we made the short drive to Guimarães from the Porto airport. Soon we were pulling into town, and my heart began to go pitter pat.

Thoughts on Guimares,Portugal

As we walked from the parking spot to our hotel (which was in a pedestrian zone) our jaws began to drop and I think my whole family fell in love with this little town simultaneously.

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weekend wanderlust five | cafecarlson.com

weekend wanderlust | five.

 

weekend wanderlust five | cafecarlson.com

Happy Friday friends! How was your week?

Wheeeee…. we are headed into the end of April, how in the world did that happen? We are back from our Spring break trip to Sicily, and are back to the business of work and school and out of that dreamy “vacation Italy” mode into “normal Italy”. Even though my friends at home don’t believe me, there is a difference- but I’m not complaining, I promise!

weekend wanderlust five | cafecarlson.com

After our trip to Modica for Easter, we spent the rest of our week in Ortigia, the historic center of Siracusa, an ancient town founded by the Greeks around 734 BC. So many wonderful things to see and do here, which deserve a separate story.

One of the many things I loved about our stay in Ortigia was being 2 blocks away from this beautiful street market. We don’t have anything like this within walking distance from where we live, but I made use of this one and visited daily.

It is a full on sensory experience to go to a market where the locals shop- and I loved every minute. I pretended for a moment that I was one of the LLL (lovely local ladies) just out shopping for my daily dinner prep….

I don’t think I fooled anyone, but I did buy something everyday that I went, and I managed to successfully shop with my bungled Italian words. That is worth celebration alone, my friends!

 

There are a few new things to tell you about on the blog this week!

I love making lists, and I love sharing… so I’ve created a few new resources on the blog.

  • New Pages! Have you spotted them yet? I made these last month and promptly got distracted and forget to tell you about them! You’ll find them on the menu on the front page. Browse through Milan: EAT + DRINK, Milan: SEE + DO, and Day Trips from Milan to see articles and recommendations on those topics.
  • Don’t miss TONS of resources and info on +under the TRAVEL page, including Foodie Favorites (food tours, cooking classes etc. that we have loved)
  • I’ve also been working on a page dedicated completely to all the restaurants we’ve tried and loved in Italy and beyond. I know I always love getting a recommendation from a friend when we travel, so since we’re friends, I’m sharing all my favorite delicious places with you! I will let you know once it’s up and running.

Now for this weeks favorite links + reads…

  • On the subject of shopping at the fresh market, my friend Sarah has a really fun series going right now called “The Italy Challenge” and this week’s challenge was to Ditch the Supermarket. Head over and read more about it!
  • One of my favorite bloggers on Italy and everything delicious is Elizabeth Minchilli. I almost typed “my friend”, because I feel like we are friends! (I mean that in the most flattering way Elizabeth!) She lives in Rome and shares her meals and recipes and travels with all of us, and I couldn’t be more delighted that her new book EATING ROME is now out. It is a gorgeous book- filled with food photos, stories, tips and recipes. I loved reading this article about her this week. Totally forgot she’s a Missouri girl too!
  • I am not ashamed to say that I am a 44 year old mom who is a few years past the point where my kids started teaching me about technology, music etc. – it’s still so strange. I’m embracing it, and still try to learn and keep up however I can. I loved this Listening to Podcasts 101 tutorial from Hollywood Housewife. I am probably the last person on earth to learn how to navigate the podcast world, but this helped me tons and I’m super excited to have new things to listen to! Wonder if I now know something my kids don’t? Probably not…
  • Everyone loves a giveaway, especially when it includes a getaway trip to some gorgeous location. Have you met Mrs. O Around the World? I enjoy reading her Luxury Travel Blog, and she is known for having the best giveaways around. This week was her birthday and to celebrate she has partnered with Sovereign Luxury Travel Company. They are giving away 5 amazing hotel stays. Check out how you can still get in on the #paradisefound giveaway. Where would you pick to go?
  • Browsing Italy is such a great resource for travelers and armchair travelers alike. Every week I love to see their weekly picks of favorite Italy photos from Instagram. Use the #browsingitaly on IG to join the fun! I was happily surprised to see they picked one of my photos last week for their weekly round up. Head over here to see which one it was! Grazie Mille Browsing Italy :)
  • What will you be eating this weekend? I’m thinking about making this, or this and this. The first one is new to me, the other 2 are favorites of everyone at my table. YUM.

Ciao a tutti!

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{weekend wanderlust catch-up one. twothree. four.}

Friday Favorites {Easter Edition} | cafecarlson.com

weekend wanderlust |four. {Happy Easter!}

Happy Easter weekend dear friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a weekend wanderlust post, but I adore this type of weekly round up post when I read them on some of my favorite blogs, AND I always love a good list… so let’s start again, shall we?

It is officially spring break for us and we are spending Easter in Modica, Sicily. An easy 1.5 hour flight from Milan, we flew into Catania, rented a car and then drove to our little apartment rental in Modica.

Friday Favorites {Easter Edition} | cafecarlson.com

When planning the trip, I chose to spend the Easter weekend in Modica because of the Easter traditions here- namely the Festa della “Madonna Vasa -Vasa, a special procession that happens on Easter morning in the center of the city.

I hope to get some great photos and video to share with you- but for now here are some lovely links on Easter traditions in Modica, Sicily and elsewhere in the world. I find it fascinating to learn about how others celebrate these important Holy events.

I will be posting pics from our adventures on Instagram if you care to follow along. So far we have climbed a lot of stairs, eaten our first fantastic Sicilian meal, and had the best cannoli of our lives.

Friday Favorites {Easter Edition} | cafecarlson.com

Friday Favorites {Easter Edition} | cafecarlson.com

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  • Try your hand at making your own Colomba Easter bread with this recipe from my friend Letizia at Madonna del Piatto. Letizia just published her first cookbook, “A Kitchen With A View” which looks beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend with your friends and family & your own special traditions!

Buona Pasqua!

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{weekend wanderlust catch-up one. two. three.}